HUHHOT, China, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- Top Chinese driver Xu Lang is set to sit out the prestigious Dakar Rally next year because his team Paradigm has decided to opt out of the world's most famous and grueling auto race.
Xu had finished 19th in Dakar Rally, the best finishing by any Chinese.
In the Chinese auto rally held in Inner Mongolia last week, Xu had won two stages before he was stuck in barbed wires and had to pull out.
Xu sees the Chinese rally as a mini-Dakar because of undulant terrain and vast deserts in Inner Mongolia.
The Chinese driver hails the Dakar Rally as the most important event of auto racing.
"No event is as difficult or as beautiful as the Dakar Rally," he said.
While not the oldest, the Dakar Rally has become the most famous of what Europeans call "marathon raids" or "rally raids", beginning with a few days of pageantry and racing in Europe and ending nearly three weeks later in Africa.
It all began in 1977 when, after getting lost in the deserts of Libya while racing in a rally and becoming enchanted by their stark beauty, Frenchman Thierry Sabine imagined putting on an event through that type of terrain.
In the Dakar Rally, competitors face daunting mileage; a day may have only two stages, but they can total 700 miles, 200 of which is transport. It's not unusual for the day to begin at 5:00 or even 4:30 a.m., and while the leaders will finish late in the afternoon, slower competitors will sometimes roll into the finish just as the leaders are starting next day. Obviously, they'll get no rest, and their machines will receive minimal maintenance. Sleep deprivation is a very real challenge during the three weeks of the race.
Finishing something like the Dakar Rally is a tremendous accomplishment and something dreamed of by many.
"I am very proud of myself simply because I had competed the race," said Xu Lang. Enditem